Saturday, 30 June 2007

Irish Questions, Still No TV

Rain pouring down all day and another night sans TV. This is not good.

Met my bigot northern Irish pal in the pub for the first time in three years. Before he became very drunk he kept looking at me and said I looked very 'girlish', which I can only assume was a compliment, unless of course he meant dim, thinking about it. I have a short bobbed haircut and had run out of batteries for my curler, so the hair is childishly straight. We had a long chat about paranoia, and back on to his favourite subject: the plight of the poor single working class Paddy in London, etc. etc. My Irish cartoonist friend then turned up, and we had quite an interesting Catholic/Protestant thing going for a while, with universal contempt for the Frank McCourt type of novel about deprived Irish childhood, but still a general condemnation of the Christian Brothers, who had 'educated' one of them, mainly (it could have been worse) by beating him up.

Dorothy thinks I will have to get a technician in about the TV which means involving my neighbour upstairs as they will no doubt need access to the roof. Maybe I will see if I can live without a television and treat this deprivation as a kind of test.I have only known a couple of people who were single and did not have a TV, one of whom was my art history tutor, who made a huge point of this to us all the time. His life however was considerably more exciting than mine. We shall see.

Colonial Childhood Years

I was eight and my sister three when we set off on the SS Golfito to meet my mother's second husband in Trinidad. Nibby was his daughter, and as my father had left to later remarry when I was about two or three, this was effectively my new family. We had lived in Cambridge for about two years. My stepfather was finishing his degree in Geology after service in the RAF, and there being no grants for families, my mother worked as a ward orderly in a hospital, then set up in business for herself, making school uniforms at home.

My stepfather got a job in the oil business and had sent for us to join him. I don't remember much about the boat but it was certainly an adventure. When we finally arrived a couple of weeks later, the heat was stunning.

It was a humid heat, necessitating several showers and clothes changes every day. We lived in a wooden bungalow on legs. Underneath were the servants quarters - a couple of rooms, papered in old newspapers or magazines, where I spent many an hour reading disconnected and cut-off parts of articles. There were no washing machines, just a huge stone tub under the bungalow, and washing was done with grated soap and washboards, before being hung to dry over bushes in the garden.

There were many families in the oil business from the UK and other places, all in these bungalows on legs, with largeish gardens cut out from the bush. It was compulsory to have a nanny, and our cook, Olga, doubled in this role. A matter of pride was to have a nurses uniform, so our mother got out the sewing machine and ran up a uniform which would have done Guy's Hospital proud.

Childrens lives consisted of breakfast, school, supper and bed, except at weekends when the families would drive to the beach with a picnic, and many hours were spent in the sea.

We had holidays 'down the islands' where we took a boat to I think, Gran Gasparee, where we rented a bungalow only reachable by boat, for there were no roads. We had to take all of our supplies with us, and went fishing every day.

Once a week, a large dark sailing boat with black sails would pass the island. Apparently this was the boat taking lepers and supplies to the local leper colony on another nearby island. Many years later I met a woman who told me she had been brought up there: Chacachacare was the name of the island, and her father had been in charge of the colony, he was a medical missionary. She said the men and women lived separately, and the women made beautiful lace cloths, which were taken to the mainland and sold to help purchase food supplies for the colony. She said she had a very happy childhood there, and the inmates were happier than on the mainland where they would be shunned because of the disease. We found the boat very scary and disturbing.

Other passing boats were passenger liners, and we amused ourselves by waving at the passengers.

Back home again the adults were often at the Club, where they would socialise, no doubt drink far too much, and play tennis. We sometimes played tennis in the evenings and weekends.

But mostly, children hung about in tribes, wandering around in the bush, finding unusual fruit, trying to catch parrakeets and so on. I had a strange childhood habit: While Olga was taking Nibby out to the local playground to show off her smart uniform and chat to the other nannies, I used to go on marathon walks alone. If thirsty I would call at peoples' houses to ask for a glass of water. In this way, I discovered a whole world of lonely middle-aged (or so they seemed to me) ladies, who were delighted by this dubious diversion. I would be chatted to for hours, shown collections of embroidery, dolls, cactus, stamps, or whatever they had been doing, and plied with snacks and fruit.

Thinking back, it was an idyllic childhood, with almost total freedom to wander around, a lovely hot climate and because of the tropical rainstorms, endless greenery all around. The main downside was that Olga fed us baked beans for supper (eaten separately from the parents) for so long that I still cannnot look at a baked bean.

When we asked why we were not always allowed to play with the black children and we went to different schools we were told that this was the way things were. It was generally accepted that black people worked as servants and white people were the bosses. Though this was not always true: I saw at least one black couple as guests at the Club at Forest Reserve, and our schoolteacher, Miss Sinnanaan, was Asian. Once we were driving home and met with some carnival stragglers, all 'jumping up' i.e. dancing in the street. 'We don't want no white people here' some yelled, jostling the car rather hard, before we managed to drive past safely.

Back in dark postwar rainy England, even though attending a smart Torquay boarding school with plenty of green, lovely gardens and views, memories of Trinidad seemed like paradise to us.

We had worn very short pastel organdie dresses in Trinidad, all made by mother,far from the knee length heavy English materials, and we had spoken with strong Trinidadian accents and some local patois learned from the servants, all of this was to change by the time we had been 'back home' for a year or two.

Some Cats I Have Known

My first cats were my grandmother's cats, most notable of which was a white manx cat with half a tail who was a 'dipper' as my grandmother called him, dipping his paw into his milk to drink.

When we lived in Blackheath, my mother bought a sealpoint siamese kitten called Lulubelle. Lulu lived for 25 years. As a kitten she would climb up curtains, get stuck up trees, and leap around at great heights in derelict buildings, so my mother gained a lot of climbing experience when rescuing her. Lulu had a strange habit (for a cat) of using the loo for its correct purpose. I once saw her on the loo, front legs together and back legs astride, facing me and pooing into the loo. She could open doors by jumping up and hanging on the handles. Her naughtiest trick was to steal a roast leg of lamb from the kitchen next door, which had stable doors. This was found, attacked and ruined, on the lawn outside.

Lulu was joined for a short period by my black cat, Charlie Boy, who died in his sleep when young.

At boarding school, my sister saved the life of a tabby kitten, Lolla, who was brought home to join the family and lived a long and useful life. After Lulu's eventual demise, my mother gave up having cats.

At this time I was living in Twickenham and decided to get a cat. Questioning the local vet, it seemed they had been asked to clear some wild cats from a railway yard. They had found one small ginger kitten, covered in black oil and took it back with them. The next day they found another in the same spot. One was short haired and one long haired so of course I had to have both. They were known as Fritz and Spitz. Spitz became my then husband's favourite, and Fritz, the longhair, was mine. Fritz was a fun-loving boy and liked to chase torch beams on the floor or wall. He would lie on my bed on his back, back legs crossed and front paws behind his head like an old man. I wish I had photographed this.

Later a pair of half siamese farms cats, Chavender and Chub, arrived. We named them from the fish in Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler: 'the Chavender, or Chub, as they were identical . When we divorced I inherited Chub, who again lived for 25 years. Chub was a super affectionate female cat, very vocal with a typical low siamese voice. I left the rather whingey high-pitched Chavender with my ex-husband. Chub is now succeeded by the evil Malvolio, my current diabetic cat. For a short while I had a lovely stray, Bacon, pictured above, who just appeared at my flat. Unfortunately he died of cat leukaemia. He was a superb silver tabby, and possibly the friendliest cat I have ever owned. Malvolio continues to torment me every morning by clawing at me until I get up and feed him and I am sure will continue to do so for a long time.

Books and Uniforms

A bay leaf in home-made rice pudding is very nice. Especially a young bay leaf from your own plant.

Was just thinking about favourite books to try and describe myself. I used to read a lot and could have named so many, but now just a few, probably because I normally watch too much TV. I did forget to mention one which I really thought was brilliant and read over and over again: 'Nothing if not Critical' by Robert Hughes. Although I read this many times when I was at art college, about twelve years ago, it now seems like thirty years ago.

Reading something about school uniforms recently made me think about my old school uniform. Starting underneath, we all wore woollen vests and white knickers (known as 'linings'). Over this went a strange garment called a liberty bodice, a kind of waistcoat thing with rubber buttons down the front, and a pair of red (uniform colour) knickers over the white ones. Up to age eleven we wore long beige wool socks in the winter, white short ones in the summer. Over that age we wore white short socks in the summer, and in the winter, thick cotton lisle stockings, held up with suspender belts. These were chocolate brown, deeply unsexy, and wrinkled at the knees and ankles. We always wore black lace-up shoes outside and changed into brown sandals indoors.

Our winter uniforms for daily wear were: white long sleeved flannel shirts with red shiny ties under bright red gym slips. A silver and enamel school badge (cross with a crown of thorns in red enamel) was worn as a tie pin. At weekends or for formal occasions the gym slip was ditched in favour of a red pleated skirt. Outside, in winter, we wore either bright red tailored woollen coats, or if rainy, red hooded gabardine macs. Topped with black felt school hats with the same silver cross in the front of the hatband.

Summer was different in that we wore red tailored dresses with tiny white spots, and red blazers with the school pocket badge embroidered in silver wire, this time with cream panama hats. For special occasions, the pleated skirt reappeared, this time with cream shantung shirts.

It does make today's uniforms seem pretty simple. I forgot to mention all the sports gear and uniforms, but I think these are still required nowadays.

Friday, 29 June 2007

A Night Without TV

A whole night without the telly.

Although my surroundings are familiar, I feel I am in some kind of remote island, strangely set in the middle of a town rather than in the sea. Everything unusually quiet.

Went to bed at 9, woke up at 6.30. All yesterday evening I was unsettled. I usually spend most of my evening watching TV, but after a few attempts to make it work, gave up. The house was so quiet that I spent some time in the kitchen listening to the radio.

Eventually drifted off to bed with a few mags to look at until I dropped off to sleep.

Still feels strange this morning. Have been reading a few blogs, and putting a few snaps on Flickr. Must get out today and hunt for a small prezzie for Dorothy, though the two bombs found (fortunately before they went off) in the West End are a bit of an off-putter. Not to mention the almost continuous rain.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

No telly, Lille and Fromage

Tragedy has struck: the telly is not working - it says 'no satellite signal' so I suppose the rain has somehow affected the satellite dish on the roof. I shall now have to do normal things like washing, cooking, cleaning the house (especially this) and tidying up. Going to bed early with a book. I am definitely outside my comfort zone with this.

Spent a great day in Lille. Nobody got lost, there were a couple of showers but otherwise the weather was OK. It also conveniently for us happened to be the first day of the sales. Romy and I bought some lovely scarves from Printemps, did a tour of the city on a minibus along with some of our charges, had lunch in the main square, and scouted around to find the best routes from Euralille to the station, so if we went again we could give this information. Lille is a very pretty town, especially the old part, and because it is a very young population, there are lots of bars, restaurants and nice little shops and apparently, a great night life. A good day if rather long - back home at around 8.45pm after leaving at 7.15 in the morning.

Invited Dorothy and Julian around to taste some cheeses and ham purchased in Lille. Dorothy showed me how to put CDs on my computer library and fixed my camera battery charger. We had a very pleasant evening testing some more wine they had brought back from Barcelona.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Wine, Ping Pong, Trauma and Dental Trauma

Dorothy and Julian came around with a Burberry scarf and a special bottle of wine for me. We drank another bottle of wine before going off to have dim sum at Ping Pong behind the Festival Hall.

Today I had to go to the dentist as the pain had become unbearable. On the way I had an enormous fall, tripping over a manhole cover. I was temporarily winded and my neighbour, who had seen the accident, rushed over the road to help me up. So embarrassing. I shall have to stop wearing my really comfortable but extremely pointy toed shoes as this is the second time this has happened in a week. I shall have permanently grazed knees. Eventually made it to the dentist who prepared to do a root canal filling but was hardly able to anaesthetise me sufficiently and when she reached the canals, the tooth was hyperaemic, which apparently means I had been in such pain for so long that all the blood rushes to the tooth making it incredibly oversensitive and hard to work on. She filled the canals with something called Ledermix which will apparently kill the nerves over the next week or so, and then put in a temporary filling. She is going to finish the work next week. Such fun. Not.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

No Show, Even More Shopping and Toothache

I had the night wrong for Johnny's show. It was tonight, so missed it. He says he will send me a DVD. But I am very disappointed to miss it.

Went shopping in Oxford Street and bought a pair of rather glamorous Italian flat gold shoes, a black and white dress, a brown blouse, a black sleeveless T shirt, a white sleeveless T shirt, a pink sleeveless T shirt, a lime green pair of cropped trousers which goes very well with one of my new jackets, and some brightly coloured underwear. Collected my two new jackets from the dressmakers.

My tooth has been aching badly for the last few days. I spent £90 on a white filling for this tooth a couple of months ago, and now it needs a root filling which will be £250. I have arranged to have this done on Monday. I shall be broke for months now. Had appalling abdominal pains on and off all day. Must be something I ate, though can't think of anything.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Very First Letter from Cherie and Shopping

Dorothy and Julian are back again. Julian is looking fine, having made some clothes purchases and a lovely pair of red sandals. I hope to see Dorothy over the weekend.

I had my first contact the other day with my half sister, Cherie. It was a letter with a couple of photos describing her life and family. This was so exciting to receive, it has stayed in my bag since then! Romy, my work colleague, thought she could see a resem blance between Cherie and me, none between me and Roberto, and a very little between me and Mykel. I shall carry on corresponding with Cherie, but would really love to meet them all at some time.

My friend Johnny has invited me to his show. There is to be a second show after the sellout success of his first one. I have been begging Dorothy and Julian to catsit Malvolio for the night in a week or two as I would really love to go.

Oh dear, I have had a rash of purchasing.

I have bought some cheap summer clothes at half price in a catalogue, some of which are OK;

a pair of Birkenstocks in black since I had no black sandals and a lot of black clothes;

a cheap pair of pointy kitten heeled gold shoes (not at all sure about these);

two quite nice Indigo Moon light jackets with overlong arms (will take these to be altered today). They are quite nice and dressy and for once, with Indigo Moon, roughly symmetrically patterned.

I also bought (on a complete impulse) a premium tanzanite ring with a smallish stone, but a gorgeous colour

and, very oddly, considering the number of oven dishes I already own, a five piece set of Linda Barker oven dishes in pale pink. They have now arrived and it has finally dawned on me why they were so cheap - they are cream inside and matte pale pink on the outside - duh - ovens - burnt-on grease etc. Hell to clean. I shall use one or two as salad dishes. I may test one in the oven. Well at least they were cheap: £19 the set. And they look very nice, now!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

I Am a Drunk and Thinking About Having an Exhibition

I consumed three cocktails in succession today, Fortunately they were on the weak side so I managed to get home without noticeable staggering, and, apart from a short snooze in the afternoon which I often have anyway at weekends, no apparent side-effects. My tolerance to alcohol has definitely improved, though I still cannot keep up with most people I know. Then again, it could be that most people I know are serious alcoholics.

Put a few more pics on Flickr and some in groups. There is even a group for telly pictures, so put a couple of the trooping of the Colour on. I am still trying to decide whether to bother to have an exhibition in the autumn. For: I have quite a few paintings which fit into groups and I might make some money. Against: it will cost a lot to have them framed, the gallery will take a large commission, I will have to acquire a more up-to-date mailing list and pay for publicity and wine etc for the opening. Also nobody might come. Against is winning at the moment. With no transport, even if I buy frames from IKEA, getting them back will be a huge job, let alone all the work involved in actually framing them properly. I shall keep thinking about this. I may just frame a few in different frames to see how they look.

Nibby's New Residence

Just had a chat with my sister Nibby in Kangaroo Valley. She has just moved into her tiny place. She has a marvellous marble bathroom and a new IKEA kitchen and wonderful river views, but there are still boxes all over the place. It seems that a family of possums have moved into the small roof space. I have suggested fixing a security light to the wall where they go in and out with a sensor, which might deter them and send them away, but apparently they are quite territorial.

She has sold another couple of paintings which will help with the renovations. She tells me that she is buying a siamese kitten. She has been without a siamese cat since she has been in Australia, but otherwise, has always had one since our family sealpoint cat Lulu, bought when she was a small child.

She is on a flood plain and it has done nothing but rain recently. However, neighbours have assured her that her house has never been flooded, unlike many in the vicinity.

I told her about Dorothy's new clothing departure and she said her gay friend has bought a large fridge magnet of the 'only gay in the village' character from Little Britain, which you can apparently dress up in all his different outfits. May purchase one of these from Old Compton Street, probably American Retro or somewhere similar.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Forever Lost Canadian Cousins

I was supposed to meet some distant long lost relatives from Canada tonight. Having rather rushed tea at Roast to contact them, there was no reply from their hotel room, so I left a message with my telephone number. However, they did not call back, so I assumed that their fourteen day tour of England, Scotland and Wales had taken its toll. They are due to take a very early train to arrive in Devon before mid day tomorrow to pick up their hire car because the office closes then. I hope they manage to catch their train as London transport is apparently rather disrupted.

Having had such an enormous tea, it was actually rather a relief not to have to go out to dinner. However I do hope the distant rellies are all right, since they had previously been so keen to meet up. I am afraid that under these kind of circumstances I do tend to imagine dramatic adverse events such as hospital emergency admissions and so on. It is far more likely that they were just tired. It has just occurred to me that the hotel staff may have failed to leave my message with them, but too late to ring them up. Tomorrow I shall ring the place where they are staying in Devon to send my best wishes for their holiday. This blog is getting more and more Pooterish. I really need severe editing.I shall be painting everything in the house including the bath, red soon.

Afternoon Tea at Roast, Borough Market

At the moment this blog is all about food. Remind me to stop eating.

Dorian and I met up for a two for one afternoon tea offer at Roast. Drinking from a choice of ordinary teas, the set tea is £15, with specialised teas £18, and with a glass of champagne, £24.

Of course Dorian opted for the champagne tea. He had Earl Grey and I had Darjeeling. A three tiered cake stand was placed in front of us. There were finger sandwiches (egg, cucumber, tomato, Coronation chicken) on the top tier. On the middle tier there were two enormous slices of home made moist carrot cake with cream, and on the bottom layer, six home made currant scones with clotted cream and delicious jam. If only I had foregone the soup I had for lunch. As though this were not enough, on a separate plate there were two tarts with creme patissiere and strawberries, and two largeish pots at their side, which we took to be an excess of cream, but which turned out to be the most delicious chocolate puds with runny cream on top.

Pity I didn't take a snap before we fell upon the food and devoured it. Because of the special offer, the bill was a measly £27 including service etc. Apart from the scones which were slightly overcooked and rocky, the rest of the tea was absolutely splendid, and fantastic value at the full price. In addition, we had the fun of observing the bustle of Borough Market from the window table. Highly recommended.

Skylon 2

Another late lunch at the Skylon with Romy. This time we ate in the grill section. Romy started with asparagus and a soft poached egg and sauce on top, and I had the most delicious terrine which we both tried and loved. Romy went on to a rather nice fish dish and I had a lamb chop on very nice buttery polenta with tiny green beans, absolutely superb and perfectly cooked. Romy sensibly stuck to strawberries and cream, while I overindulged in a wonderful creme brulee. We finished off with some excellent coffee, with fewer petits fours than last time - perhaps because we were in the grill section.

Afterwards we went out and investigated all the possibilities for an outing on the wheel. Seems they are well geared for a large disabled party but recommended we leave it until early October as the pods can become very hot. Also very full, so we should make an early start in the morning. As we came out there were quite a few very good living statues, as in Barcelona - must tell Belle about these unless she has already seen them.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Dorothy, Roxy and Madeleine

Dorothy has bought some goldish bronze shiny leggings from Mango, lots of glittering make up and sequins for the face, also some white leather bootees with green velvety fringing, and is looking for some imitation hair on strings with which to decorate a jacket.

Dorothy is turning into a resurrection of Leigh Bowery. I am a concerned parent. I am assured that this is the latest club clothing and that the extreme look has become de rigueur now.

I have counselled caution when walking in the streets, day or night, and that a taxi might be a sensible form of transport. I shall seek hair on strings in the ethnic hairpiece shop.

Roxy appeared today, looking thin but fit. She is now able to drive about again and get back to tarting up her recent flat purchase for a sale. She has undertaken to try and contact the other vixens as I have failed dismally in this respect.

Madeleine has been acknowledged for her research in the Spoto book on Alan Bates. This is good to know and I hope she will now go on to write a book herself.

Monday, 11 June 2007


Dorothy treated me to an early dinner at Arbutus in Frith Street, near Soho Square. Feeling rather bold I had put on a T shirt covered in an image of Central Park. I was rather worried about embarrassing Dorothy but need not have feared, as Dorothy turned up wearing a rather fetching but very bright T shirt in pink which was apparently some Vivienne Westwood cult design that 'everyone wants'. So we stood out a bit.

The service was excellent. I had the pre-theatre dinner but went a la carte for the pudding. Dorothy had not eaten that day, so ordered a la carte to taste some new dishes, having visited this place several times before with Julian.

I started with a ballotine of rabbit with lentils and went on to a delicious lamb dish. Dorothy started with Cornish crab, and then proceeded to devour a rather excellent bouillabaisse with ailloli and rouille. I tasted the liquid, which was an extremely rich reduction of a shellfish soup, tasting of a combination of crab and lobster bisque. We shared a serving of Cashel blue with the last of the wine. I finished off with a rather brilliant strawberry trifle and Dorothy with a floating island. We just drank water and a carafe of Chilean Merlot.

We strolled down to Charing Cross to have coffee before cabbing home.

In my opinion Arbutus is an absolutely excellent restaurant. Dorothy thinks they will soon have a Michelin star. I do hope not, because then the prices will treble and it will be impossible to get a table.

Friday, 8 June 2007


Took Dorian to the Skylon at the Festival Hall. The building was a bit unfinished and we had to pick our way through a few builders and bits of rubble to get there. However we found it in the end.

It was a large bright room with retro colours of brown and green in the furnishings. Windows all down one side with lovely river views, where we sat and a bar area in the middle. The waiters were very attentive. We were having the special 1951 menu of two courses for £19.99, which, we decided, would become three courses for £24.99. We had a free glass of wine at the beginning. It turned out that the place was a Conran restaurant. Conran must almost own the riverfront on that side.

Dorian was rather disappointed with the food, which was rather overcooked, but compensated by drinking several glasses of wine. He had chicken livers, followed by lamb with couscous, followed by chocolate mousse. I had vegetables a la Grecque which were excellent, followed by seabass which was very slightly overcooked, and finished up with rich vanilla ice cream and hot Valrhona chocolate sauce, which was delicious. I had a glass of pudding wine and some rather nice coffee, served with almond and chocolate petits fours, while Dorian settled for two glasses of pudding wine with some of the petits fours, which we both agreed were rather good. I suggested that perhaps the overcooking might be related to the fact that we had a 2.30 lunch and they probably prepared things in advance.

There was a very celebratory air about the place - the weather had become very sunny and warm from a rather chilly wet start that day. We wandered about a bit on the terrace and investigated the new layout of the place. There was a wonderful fountain, and Dorian leapt in to the (dry) centre of this while I took some snaps.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Tatty House, Street Crime and Crap Internet

Just ordered the Tommy Steele autobiography 'Bermondsey Boy'. Apparently it has lots of local references and should be quite interesting to me as I was at school locally in the fifties for a short time.

Xpenditure - have just ordered a silk crushed pleats gypsy skirt. Romy had a call from a punter while she was in Spain. I really don't know why she takes the office mobile away with her - total madness.

I was told that the most tatty looking house in my street was for sale. I googled it and saw it was for auction by a mortgage company but had been withdrawn from the sale. Presumably sold privately. It was described as having an income of £32,000, though I can't imagine this. Apparently it is somehow divided into two flats. I cannot think why someone does not completely renovate it as flats around here can sell really well. I hope someone 'does it up' as it is currently a bit of an eyesore.

Just had a bit of a drama outside - a lot of shouting and small crowds forming. A guy was caught in the basement area of a house - the owners came out armed with sticks and grabbed him. He said he was just having a pee - they maintained he was trying to break in. Anyway, fifteen minutes later two police cars arrived, he was arrested and taken away in a van. Got a few snaps but nothing exciting. Perhaps that is why the house has not sold before.

Dear me, all this happening when I am trying to get my makeup on to go to the Skylon.

My internet keeps disconnecting somehow and my laptop is on a permanent go-slow. I wonder if I need a new one, but haven't had this one for long. I am hardly computer literate so all I can think to do is to keep unplugging things, then plugging them in again which sometimes works. Sometimes getting rid of all my tabs seems to help, though Dorothy tells me this is complete nonsense.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Meeting Long Losts and Further Spendthriftery

Another email from Lauren, my new sister-in-law. She is making waistcoats for my half brother, Roberto, who is dashing over to France trying to decide whether to buy the bar they had originally settled on, or another one about 5km from their daughter's bar, which would also be good for them.

It really is exciting discovering a whole new family at my advanced age. I really must get down to Torquay some time and meet them. Unfortunately this could prove difficult. I have already booked two separate weeks to take the pensioners on holiday, with Dorothy and Julian cat-minding and cat injecting, so I am a bit reluctant to ask them to come and stay again for me to spend time in Torquay.

On the distaff side of the family, I am in contact with a couple of ladies who lunch from America or Canada who are very distantly (19thc) related and who have come back to do a trip to Devon to seek more information about the family history ( I think it is mainly gravestones!). I am meeting them in Kensington on 15th before their trip.

Oh dear, further purchases from the TV. I bought quite a nice pair of sandals, and a rather luxurious teal coloured Italian suede bag. This will go with the teal boots I purchased a few weeks ago.

Bermondsey, Heels and Skulls

Just reading on the SE1 forum about Tommy Steele's autobiography. I must read it. As I was at school nearby for a couple of years I remember the area quite well. Though we lived in the comparatively smart Blackheath, in the Paragon, a lovely georgian crescent, I went to school at St. Saviours and St. Olave's Grammar School.

I remember particularly a visit to Bermondsey Market where, due to parental intervention, I was unable to buy a) a genuine human skull, and b) a beautiful pair of antique shoes, with silk ribbons and china or earthenware heels. Both of these items were absolutely fascinating to me.

I have never yet seen another pair of shoes with china heels, but have a cast of a skull. This I decorated at art school in the Mexican Day of the Dead style, with paint and glass beads, in 1994. I now see Damien Hirst is rather more expensively casting and decorating skulls.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Madeleine, her New Car, Richmond Park and Barnes

Madeleine rang about half an hour ago when she was due here. It seems that, having been driving around in her new car all day, she stopped to get some milk in Kensington High Street and the car is completely dead and will not start. She has called the garage she bought it from who don't have a clue what the problem can be, and has now called the AA. She is going to keep me posted. It seems that any arrangement she makes with me is totally doomed. Have just had a nice cup of tea in the garden - it is gloriously hot and sunny. Richmond Park would have been good.

Another call from Madeleine. It seems that the battery was badly fitted and not connecting so the AA are fixing it. She says she will be here around 4.30pm.

It is 8.30. Madeleine arrived at 4.30 in her new Peugeot which has an automatic roof which comes down when you press a button, very smart, and great in the summer.We drove to Richmond park, arriving at Pembroke Lodge in the sun. A wedding was going on outside so we had a musical accompaniment to our tea. There is a fantastic view as it is quite high up. We didn't have time to get to the Isabella, but the garden at Pembroke Lodge was very attractively planted. After this we tootled along to the Sun Inn in Barnes, looking at the 2m price tag of an old house they once owned, and had a drink, watching the ducks and geese in the pond for a while before coming back. A successful ending to a day with a bad start.

Friday, 1 June 2007

IKEA, Richmond Park , Roast and Skylon

Waited in until 12pm for the IKEA delivery. Rang the people who said they were in fact delivering tomorrow when they had agreed to my request of delivering today. I wonder whether they will deliver the right item?

Madeleine finally rang to admit failure on the theatre front and to say she had purchased a new car and wanted to drive to the country tomorrow for tea and scones in a nice old fashioned cafe. I told her she was living in the nineteen fifties and the best tea places are in central London. However she then suggested Richmond Park which does admittedly have a tea place. She is going to try and get the car horn working before she comes up to collect me. IF it is fine. Before I did my foundation course and degree, I went to the Adult College in Richmond for a prefoundation and A level course. Our class went to Richmond Park to do some landscape drawing. We also went to Marble Hill Park, near my house at the time. We had some nice summer days painting there.

Malvolio has taken to sitting near the dry food supply, mewing plaintively. I will not be moved.

I was moved at midnight. Malvolio still whingeing, so gave him small handful of dry food.

I must be psychic. Ikea van turned up today (Saturday) with two of the three items. No handle for boiler cupboard so will have to contact them yet again.

Am now going to afternoon tea at Roast with Dorian on Monday, Skylon with Dorian again on Friday, then Skylon again the following Thursday lunchtime with Romy. Had better not order any more food from Ocado. Drank a couple of glasses of champagne for lunch outside in my mini-garden. Madeleine due at around 2.30 today for our jaunt to Richmond Park. I will definitely take my camera. Maybe we will have time to have a brief look at the Isabella plantation which should be in full flower. No word from Dorothy and Julian. I expect they have been out clubbing.